Monday, May 29, 2017

Denn's Biomarkt... where have you been all my life?

I know, I know...  I've been living in Germany for awhile now and Denn's Biomarkt is a chain with locations all over the place.  I kept meaning to stop at one, but never got around to it.  Today, Bill and I decided to go to Nagold to shop for groceries.  We usually go to the Real or Aldi in Jettingen, but I felt like a change.

Although we were planning to hit the very nice Edeka in Nagold, I spotted a Denn's Biomarkt location.  It had a huge parking lot that allowed free parking for up to 90 minutes.  Plenty of spots were open, so we pulled in and had a look.

I was immediately impressed by how quiet the place was...

There was lots of fresh produce and the lighting was very pleasant.  It was much nicer than the harsh, depressing lighting at the Real.

I was intrigued by this product for kids, although I didn't pick any up.

They had a cheese counter, as well as this case of nice cheeses from around Europe.

And there was also plenty of wine from around Europe, including some enticing ones from Spain and Italy.

The wine of the month!

Fresh eggs!  

And, if the need arises, you can even buy socks, t-shirts, and underwear made of organic cotton.  They had a nice cosmetics area with a lot of natural products, as well as a small selection of organic pet foods and treats.

They even had fair trade chocolate eggs with toys in them.  I got one and will have to see what the prize is.  Hopefully, I won't choke on it.  ;-)

And there's a bulletin board advertising everything from rental properties to pets looking for homes.

I really enjoyed shopping at Denn's Biomarkt today.  They offer some very nice products.  I noticed the store was particularly vegan friendly, which may be useful for some readers.  I also liked the fact that the store wasn't too big or chaotic the way the Real is sometimes.

Unfortunately, we still ended up visiting the Real when Bill decided he wanted to make some hummus for lunch.  We also had a rack of empty water bottles to offload.  Many people who read this blog live in Germany and no doubt already know what is involved with returning racks of bottles at a German grocery store.  For those who don't, I took a couple of pictures.

You put the rank in the bottom part.  It gets read.  A receipt for the "pfand" is printed...

You take the receipt and hand it in to the cashier when you check out.  The money you paid for the pfand is refunded.

I thought this dinosaur was funny.  Reminded me of a reverse Barney.  Of course, I always hated Barney...  Baby Bop perhaps?  

I must admit, I got a little sad walking through the store in Nagold, thinking about how much I enjoy that town and realizing that I may have to move again soon.  Or, maybe not...  I suspect I will mourn the missed opportunity of moving to Italy, too, if it turns out we stay here.  What a ridiculous problem to have.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A lovely lunch at the Alte Kunst in Tübingen

After a morning spent fretting over the immediate future, Bill enticed me to get dressed and come into the light... the light of Tübingen, that is.  He wanted to go out for lunch in Tübingen, one of our favorite local cities.  I was game, so I got dressed, sprayed on some sunscreen, and got in the car.  It was a good thing I put on the sunscreen.  More on that later.

We parked the car at our favorite garage, walked into town, and passed a rather paunchy guy wearing a funny tank top that read "Train harder than I do."  We wound up stopping at the Alte Kunst restaurant.  To be honest, I had been wanting to stop there for years.  Last time we ate at the Alte Kunst in Tübingen was in 2009, right after Michael Jackson died.  I knew we were going to be moving soon and remember sitting outside eating dorade as I listened to Michael Jackson's biggest hits on the radio.  I was kind of in a foul mood that day because I didn't want to move and was really pissed off that we had to go a year early.  But I do remember the dorade was good.

Today, the outdoor seating at Alte Kunst was mostly full, save for one table in the sun.  We took that table, although we could have sat inside.  I was really glad I had applied sunscreen, because for the first half hour or so of our visit, I was getting a bit grilled.  I am a very white person and the sun doesn't agree with me for too long.

Fortunately, the folks behind us left, so we were able to claim their more desirable table under an umbrella.  Not only was I no longer grilling in the sun; I was also spared from having to see my reflection in the store window across the street.  This was a good thing, since I ordered dorade again.  Dorade is pretty healthy as entrees go, but it usually comes out on a big platter and who wants to watch themselves eating from that?

Bill enjoys the sun while he decides on lunch.

A pretty table!

And today's special!

I went with dorade, which was perfectly grilled with potatoes with just enough salt.  The fish was stuffed with a bay leaf and fresh lemon.  I have had dorade at a number of places and Alte Kunst consistently does it right... although I will admit that it had been since our last visit.  This was priced at 18,80.

Bill had shrimp with pasta and vegetables.  He said the pasta was very simply prepared, with lots of garlic, a little butter, and very fresh shrimp.

I paid a few visits to the restroom.  One of the stalls lacked toilet paper, but the other one was well stocked.  And I was tickled to see that they had thoughtfully provided a range of products intended to comfort female guests.

A picture of the facade, after the sun had moved a bit.

There was a book fair going on... 

They had a lot of activities for kids, to include balloons, which we saw more than a few kids chasing down the hill past us as we ate.

I wish I read German.

And it was good to see the Rathaus looking so nice.

Food trucks... and books...

And people who climbed the tower of the church to look over the city.  We have been there and done that!

But I never get tired of the city.  I can see why we almost never visited Stuttgart when we lived in Germany the first time.

For my yarn loving friends.  

Dueling Eis cafes.  These two ice cream parlors have been in these locations for years and they never hurt for business when the weather is good.  There is always a line for both and they are directly across the street from each other.

And there is Ben & Jerry's ice cream for those who want it.

After lunch, we visited the Neckarmueller, since it had been awhile since our last visit.  Our favorite stand by biergarten was in full swing and we had no problem finding a table right by the river.

Mr. Bill enjoys a beer while gazing at the river.

Everybody was enjoying the river today.

Not long before I took this picture, we ran into a young couple and I asked them if they wanted me to take a photo of them.  I don't know if they liked the picture...  Usually, Bill is the one who gets asked to take pictures.  He doesn't have a resting bitch face like I do sometimes.

Looks like a good idea.  Bring your food and booze and enjoy the river.

As we were walking to the tunnel that would take us to our car, we ran into a young woman with two little kids who were shrieking with delight as they passed through the tunnel.  I heard her chastising them, so I gave her a big smile.  She smiled back.  I remember being a kid and enchanted by tunnels.  

These guys were going tubing.  I hadn't seen this since Texas.  

We finally ended up at Die Kelter, because I needed to whiz.  We sat in their biergarten and Bill had coffee.  I had beer.

Check out the ladybug!

The local brew is good.  This beer is made not too far from where we live.

It amazes me that my husband's contract will end in 55 days...  We could be in Italy in that time or we could still be here... or back in the USA.  No matter what happens, I was reminded today of just how much I love living in Germany.  It may turn out I will love Italy just as much, or I may get to stay here... or I may go back to the States and plot to come back.  ;-)  All I can say is that I am very pleased to have the privilege of getting to live in Europe.  And this part of Germany is a real treat to get to know.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A beautiful day in the neighborhood...

We have beautiful weather in southwestern Germany today.  Since the sun was shining, Bill and I decided to head to Nagold for lunch.  Today we ate at Luz Bistro, which has become one of our favorite local restaurants over the past few years.  We sat outside and were immediately presented with the latest specials.  Right now on the weekends, Luz Bistro is offering a grill menu and an asparagus menu.  Although I wasn't thinking of having steak when we sat down, I noticed the grill set up outside by the terrace.  We've always had good experiences with grilled dishes at Luz Bistro, so Bill and I decided to go for it.  I had the rib eye and Bill had a filet.  They also had roast beef and wurst.

Bill enjoys the sunshine and a hefeweizen.

Both steaks came with green salads, complete with potato salad underneath.  The dressing was light, creamy, and garlicky.

Bill's filet was 180 grams and cooked to a perfect medium temperature.  The steak came with baked potato covered with sour cream and herb butter.

My 250 gram rib eye was absolutely delicious.  In fact, I think it may have been the best steak I've had in Germany yet, even better than at Christophorus.  I don't like sour cream, so they kindly put it on the side for me.  I think that steak was cooked over charcoal.  It was outstanding.

My dish was priced at 40 euros while Bill's was 37 euros.  However, for that money, we got a lot of food that we weren't able to finish!  Total bill for our lunches and beers was about 85 euros before the tip.  While we were eating, we got to watch a lot of kids and dogs playing in one of Nagold's many fountains.

The fountain in this picture is where lots of kids and dogs play.

Whenever someone in the Pups of Stuttgart Facebook group asks about where to take their water loving dogs, I always suggest Nagold.  Not only do dogs get to play in the fountains, they also play in the river pictured below.  At the end of this post, I will include a short movie I took last summer of a guy who brought his three dogs to play there.

Today, I didn't see dogs in the river, but I did see lots of people soaking their feet in the water.

More dogs in fountains!

After you're finished letting your dog swim, you can stop by the Longwy bar for a drink... or maybe take a hookah break.

This was the line to get into Nagold's awesome pool.  It was packed!

No hookahs allowed.

I'm dying to try that slide, but on a day when it's not so busy!

I have really come to love Nagold since we've lived in Jettingen.  If we end up moving to Italy this summer, I am sure I'm going to miss Nagold and the rest of Germany.  The thought of moving fills me with dread, even though I do love the idea of living in Italy.  We'll see what happens.  For now, I think we'll just enjoy what we have here.  

If your dog is a swimmer, you might want to visit Nagold.